The All-Clad Tri-Ply Stainless 10-piece Cookware Set is a top performer in tests of stainless cookware at one foodie magazine. However, it does not significantly outperform other sets that cost hundreds less. Moreover, one of its biggest advantages -- the generous size of the pieces -- no longer applies, as All-Clad has replaced some of the pots and pans in this set with smaller ones. Thus, we see no compelling reason to recommend this set over cheaper competitors.
Reviewers agree that All-Clad's cooking performance is superb. The tri-ply construction -- two layers of stainless steel wrapped around an aluminum core -- delivers slow, steady heat in professional tests. Moreover, the pans are fully clad with the aluminum core extending up their sides, helping promote a more even transfer of heat. Although user reviews for this set are scarce, those we found agree that these pans deliver fast, even heat. They also report that food doesn't stick to the surface of these pans as often as with other stainless cookware. One owner at Macys.com calls the tri-ply cookware's surface "second to none," and another says, "It has made cooking a much more pleasurable experience." Two owners even claim that food cooked in these pans tastes better than it did in their old nonstick cookware.
A few favorite pans are missing from this cookware set. The newest version of this All-Clad set excludes a few of the highest-praised pieces from the most recent professional testing (performed prior to the cookware update). The 12-inch skillet, praised for its roomy surface and broad, flaring sides, is now gone, as are the 4-quart covered saucepan and sauté pan. However, the set does still include a generous 8-quart stockpot, something its lower-priced competitors lack. Most owners seem satisfied with the selection of pots and pans in this set, despite their reduced sizes. They also praise the All-Clad's stay-cool handles and snug-fitting lids. We did see a handful of reviews noting that this cookware's heft, combined with the length of the handles, can make it a challenge to maneuver, but most users consider this a minor problem. As for cleanup, users admit it requires a bit more work than nonstick cookware. Multiple owners recommend Bar Keepers Friend cleanser (*Est. $3 for a 12-ounce can) to reduce the amount of elbow grease needed. (All-Clad stainless cookware is dishwasher-safe, but most owners seem to prefer washing it by hand.)
Owners say an All-Clad set adds to kitchen decor. In the few reviews we found for this cookware, there were limited, but uniformly positive comments about appearance. One owner says these pots "will enhance any kitchen, especially hanging up in your kitchen island pot rack." Another raves that her pans look "brand new" after four years of use.
Professional testers name the All-Clad's construction "superb." Handcrafted in the USA, the pots are described in reviews as hefty and sturdily built. Their cooking surfaces are made of 18/10 stainless steel, which contains 10 percent nickel to improve corrosion resistance. (The outer surface, however, is made of magnetic stainless steel, which allows it to be used on induction cooktops.) Several users say their cookware still looks like new after years of use. This set is backed by a lifetime warranty, and unlike many manufacturers, All-Clad covers the cost of shipping damaged cookware back to them.
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1. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Review Credibility: Very Good In this review, editors narrow the wide selection of cookware on the market to six sets that offer what they consider the most usable pieces. The All-Clad Tri-Ply Stainless 10-piece Cookware Set, which editors call their "natural starting point," goes up against less expensive sets from brands like Calphalon and Tramontina. Reviewers consider the cookware's construction, the weight of the pans and whether the handles get hot.
Review: Cookware Sets, Editors of Cook 's Illustrated magazine, May 1, 2009
Review Credibility: Good Currently, there are only two reviews for the All-Clad Tri-Ply Stainless-Steel 10-piece Cookware Set at Williams-Sonoma.com, the only site selling the set. However, both reviewers give the set five stars (out of five), with lavish praise for its performance and durability. Both reviews specifically mention that Bar Keepers Friend cleanser is a must for cleaning this cookware. One says this cleaner makes cleanup "a breeze," and the other says it restored her tarnished skillets to like-new condition.
Review: All-Clad Tri-Ply Stainless-Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set, Contributors to Williams-Sonoma.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Good Macy's does not sell this All-Clad cookware set, but there are about 70 reviews here for a similar set from All-Clad (no longer available). The only difference between the two is that the older set featured a 3-quart saucepan in place of the 3-quart casserole. Owners give the cookware a near-perfect 4.9 stars out of 5, with praise for its fast, even heating, durability, easy cleanup and good looks. Their most common quibble is that the weight of the pots, combined with the length of the handles, makes them a bit difficult to maneuver.
Review: All-Clad Stainless Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set, Contributors to Macys.com, As of December 2012